Why don't I pass the screening processes? Don't really get it...

Hey everyone, I really need someone to shed some light here...

I dont have any idea why the top 10 BBs have screened me out without giving me the chance of an interview. I live a west European country (FR, GER, IT, SPA, SWITZ...) and I applied to all the BBs for positions in my country and London in December but I haven't got any miserable interview. I've done an extensive research and pretty much know how the industry works (at least theoretically). Also, I am graduating from a Degree in Economics from a semi-target uni with strong quantitative knowledge in 2 months and I did an internship in a mid-size hedge fund in Asia this last summer.

I am not complaining about not receiving offers. I don't even get the chance to demonstrate that I could do this job and I am willing to work my ass off! I do all the cover letters (when required) very well, including examples of buy and sell side acquisitions advised by the bank when applying for M&A role, etc.

I have networked to some alumni and I only was successful twice. Once and MD from a Tier 1 bank invited me to coffee and reviewed my CL and CV though he did not get me an interview (and that's fine, I am really grateful that he wasted his time reviewing my shit). The other time, an associate from a boutique told me he would get me an interview but then he never answered.

So, I don't get what they are looking for (BBs) when reviewing applications, I carefully read all job descriptions and I have everything they seem to be looking for. Thoughts?

Comments (38)

Apr 23, 2018

Might be your resume, take your name and any information that makes you identifiable off of it and post it so we can have a look.

Apr 23, 2018

I do not think that's the problem though. Since as I wrote above, my CV has been reviewed by an Tier 1 MD and it seems that the problem is that I did not study in a target and I do not have awesome exp. as Clemson said...

Best Response
Apr 23, 2018

doesn't think resume is a problem

"the problem is that I did not study in a target and I do not have awesome exp."

Hmmmm

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Apr 23, 2018

Applying in December is probably the issue. Most banks are done hiring by then and only keep the job postings open in case any one reneges and they need to run more interviews.

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May 7, 2018

This. I had all my interviews for roles 2018 latest early/mid Nov.

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Apr 23, 2018

Let me break this down very plainly: There are thousands of applicants applying for the same positions at all of these BB's. You can apply but unless you are from a target, have incredible experience, or network extensively, you won't get an interview. Even people who apply from targets don't get interviews without some networking.

My advice from there is that unless you continue to send out emails, LinkedIn messages, etc to set up many meetings and build relationships to get you through the door, your odds of getting an interview is the same as making a full court shot in basketball.

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Apr 23, 2018

Thank you a lot mate! I really appreciate this straight and clear-type of answers. I guess my only chance is to keep networking or either apply to top graduate schools.

Just a question, I am new in this world though I think I'm learning quite fast how it works. Regarding networking, should I ask for an interview to my network directly? Because all I got until now (and I repeat that I am very grateful for it) was CV reviews and advices.

Apr 23, 2018

Sure! Just to give you a little more direction, the purpose of these networking meetings is to get the other person that agreed to meet with you to feel more comfortable with you as a person so he / she can recommend you.

What I would usually do is once I set up a call / met with them for coffee, I would usually start it off by asking them about their experiences in banking, deals that they've been working on, what they enjoy about the job, and from there just let the conversation naturally progress for 30 or so minutes.

At some point within the conversation (or directly from the start) they are going to ask you a little bit more about yourself and your goals (what I call the intro / elevator pitch) and that's where you give them a brief background description (school, internships, etc.) and why you are interested in banking. This pitch should be at most 3 mins. long and the goal of this pitch is to put this information in the back of their minds' before shifting the conversation back about them.

Towards the end of the conversation, I would usually say something along the lines of: "Thank you for sitting down", "I've really learned a lot", "Its been fun hearing about you're experiences", etc. and then talk about opportunities. This is where experience and social awareness usually kicks in. If they haven't mentioned opportunities within the conversation (which almost 90% of people you network know that's what you want), then I usually say something along the lines of: "I'm currently networking and looking for opportunities to be in this industry, is your bank hiring?" Its pretty direct and depending if you if you had a great conversation with the other person, you should at least get another lead from it and should be able to follow up.

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May 7, 2018

About 10k applications per IBD position in the states IIRC.

May 7, 2018

Knew I shoulda played Basketball instead of Jiu Jistu....

Apr 23, 2018

I'm from across the pond so not sure how transferable this advice is, but I would expect to do several, possibly dozens, more coffee chats before getting an interview - 2 is not enough, at least in my experience, if you're not particularly exceptional.

As a side note, it seems like you don't have the best attitude if you're talking about miserable interviews & referring to networking as an MD wasting time reviewing your shit.

Apr 23, 2018

I think the miserable interview was more as an emphasis that he hasn't received any. And he said the MD wasted his time by reviewing the resume which he didn't need to do.

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Apr 23, 2018

Ah I see, language barrier I guess. Still, maybe I'm in the minority but I think framing that as wasting anyone's time is a little self-defeating--networking/resume review doesn't have to be purely transactional. There's still value there even if you didn't get an interview immediately after

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Apr 23, 2018

That's exactly what I meant.

May 3, 2018

A couple of senior people at BBs explicitly told a very close friend of mine while networking that his university was not on the target list and there was no chance for him to get an interview for graduate positions as HR is strict on this.
My advice would be to apply to 2nd tier banks or boutiques which are less strict, build some experience in the field you like and keep networking aggressively. Things will change when leaving the OCR/Graduate arena and hitting the experienced professionals bucket - my friend actually managed to get an interview at JPM during his second year into the job through a normal application on the website

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May 3, 2018

Are you still in undergrad? What's your financial situation?

Your non-target status is holding you back. Assuming you aren't already a Masters student, I would recommend applying for 2 or 3-year Masters programmes at European business schools. You will have time to develop your network, grow your experience through ECs, and will have the opportunity to apply for internships again. The brand value of a respected school like HEC or Bocconi will also significantly enhance your profile.

May 4, 2018

I am still in undergrad. My uni is not considered target for IB though it is quite strong in Europe for its Economics department so banks know it is a good uni but it does not place very well in IB. The thing is that I've seen some people working in IB that studied at my uni (not much but some) so I guess that if they could break in why wouldn't I?

I really want to do a MiF but after some years of experience.

My strategy: I'll keep networking and if things do not work out and I don't get this year into IB I will take some less prestigious job in finance to strengthen my knowledge and I'll try to break in next year. I hope this is a good approach but any further comments are really appreciated.

Thank you

May 4, 2018

You will not break in without an investment banking internship, which you will not be able to apply for unless you are student.

I still think the Masters route is best for you. I do not think a post-experience Masters is worth it. If you plan on getting a Masters at all, you should get it now.

May 4, 2018

Don't really agree on that. I plan to do a master in finance for the knowledge and to completely specialize myself in the subject and this can be only provided when I have meaningful experience in the sector, i.e. by doing a master post experience. I just see pre-experience masters in finance as a doorway to break into an industry, because I've read the programs and the finance taught in those masters is not very advanced (which does make sense because those masters are for people with 0-2 years of experience). I respect people who enrol into this masters, this is just my opinion. I don't want to spend 50-100k in a master just to break into the industry so that's why I reject the pre-experience master option.

Also, if don't get an internship in IB I might take other routes in finance such as breaking into a top consulting firm or finance BO job (which is easier coming from my uni since those companies such as pwc, ey, Deloitte, etc. love to hire graduates from here)

May 7, 2018

Consulting is 20x worse with the whole target thing

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May 4, 2018

Your problem is that you're studying at a non-target. Simple as that. In Europe, if you're not from one of the targets in the UK (LSE/Oxbridge/Russel Group in general) or continental Europe (HEC Paris, Bocconi, etc) you just don't get interviews. Plus, networking isn't that effective in the UK, so if you're not at a target, you're just screwed.

As other users have said, your best bet is to complete an MFin at a top target in the UK and break in from there. It's doable.

Just a final tip: don't do a masters to "specialize yourself". No one does that. Post-grad degrees in finance serve one role; getting a job.

To infinity... and beyond!

May 4, 2018

Mmm really? If that's true I don't see the point in spending 50-100k for getting a job (pre and post masters). It is an investment that do not pays off because of my private opportunity cost. Thank you for your insights, I'll keep trying through networking because as you said I am screwed in terms of university because a machine will just screen me out but if a person gets me the interview... that's possible I guess

May 4, 2018

In the vast majority of cases, yes. You won't need the advanced material covered in an MFin unless you want to move towards academia. And paying 50k for a job is absolutely worth it, since you'll be able to make it up quite fast when you actually start working. In the long run, it's nothing. Kids in the US often take on hundreds of thousands in student loans to attend a target school.

As for networking, from what I know it isn't as effective in Europe, but I suppose it never hurts to try.

To infinity... and beyond!

May 4, 2018

As people have said, since many banks screen CVs with software, not having a target on your CV is a point agains you. If you can't/don't want to spend more time and money on education such as doing a master's at a target then build up on the experience side and apply to smaller boutiques that still have human screening. It's a longer road but you can get to where you want to eventually.

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May 4, 2018

Since you know that your undergrad school is limiting your job prospects...why not transfer now to a target school to complete your undergrad? That should be enough to get into the interview pipeline for the BBs (assuming you have good enough grades).

just google it...you're welcome

May 4, 2018

Are you applying for internships or full-time positions? You need to apply to an internship first. It's essentially a 10-week interview. Coming from a non-target, you absolutely need this. You are not going to get ANY full-time interviews.

So, do your networking. Express your interest in doing a summer internship. Ask what you should do to get a chance at an SA interview.

May 4, 2018

Thanks, I am applying for internship by the way

May 4, 2018

Try to think about what makes you unique as a candidate. There are thousands of Economics students from semi/target universities that speak a European language and have a finance internship under their belt. Mention volunteering, any interesting experiences, competitive sports etc. Once you figure out what HR is looking for it's relatively easy to get interviews. You really need to make sure that you stand out.

Apply a lot earlier as well, apps usually open in July. As mentioned by others, you should consider doing a Masters at a top target uni.

Obstacles are the things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.
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May 4, 2018

Just to add that only undergrads from UK target unis are actually able to secure IB roles while an undergraduate degree from continental Europe is 99% not enough, even when done at targets like Bocconi. Everybody does a Master on top of that (either in their home country or in the UK) and these are the people you are competing with at the moment. Thinking of breaking in without a Master from a EU non-target is not impossible but very improbable, unless you have unique experiences on your resume

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May 5, 2018

Really helpful your insights. I think I'll have to try boutiques first and focus on what makes me different + networking a lot to get an interview. Regarding the pre-experience master... maybe it is the best route for me to take but I really want to have some more experience before (at least 1 year). I'll keep trying, thanks!

May 8, 2018

Because you are not Jewish.

EDIT: Listen Goyim - I am a jew so I can say these kinds of things! Your two monkey shits are literally a holocaust. I mean seriously 8 monkeyshits! How many of my people were you able to kill with those 6million monkey shits? You starved every ounce of fat off their body and THEN turned them into bars of soap. You made lamp shades with their skins, and you killed them with masturbation machines. All 400 gorrilion of them.

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May 8, 2018

You as a first year analyst and me trying to break in... I see there are inefficiencies in this world as well...

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May 10, 2018

I would add that in my experience you're often invited to take psychometric tests right after you submit your application, dependent on you having the minimum grades for the role (I'm not too sure they consider university at that stage). In order to even be considered you have to perform in the top 10th percentile of test scores. Focus on trying to ace the tests - especially if you're applying to roles in London!

May 10, 2018

it grinds my gears when the tests come as "surprise" after submitting the application. Sometime you have to do them on the spot. No BB I don't want to do test at 2am after just submitting an application ffs. Some others give you 3-5 days to do them so it is cool.

May 11, 2018

Completely agree, or when you have submissions due and they only give you 24 hours to do them.

May 10, 2018
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